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Body Scan Meditation: How to Reconnect with Your Body and Mind

Body Scan Meditation: How to Reconnect with Your Body and Mind

The idea of body scan meditation is one of those things that you either embrace or rebel against. The thought of conducting a series of “body scans” that enables you to reconnect with your body might seem like a leap. It is scary to have to face your body and connect with it if you haven’t done so in a long time.

Many people in today’s society enjoy being disconnected from their bodies. With the vast majority of society in a constant war with their bodies, they may not want to be connected. We have been taught to separate the mind and body.

It is true, body scan meditation for mindfulness may not be the type of thing you would consider “good.” This indifference or apathy toward connecting with your body may lead you down a dark path, but it doesn’t have to. Giving body scan meditation a try can help you create a positive relationship with your body and thus, you can live harmoniously together.

What is Body Scan Meditation?

Body scan meditation focuses your consciousness on the physical sensations in the body. The practice is done by “scanning” and averting your focus through your body entirely on a micro-level. As you give attention to every inch of your body, you will cultivate the ability to notice what your body is experiencing.

What this includes is all the systems of the body, bones, internal organs, digestive organs, skin, muscles, joints, etc. This practice helps you become self-aware of how your physical bodily experience is connected to your emotional experiences. As you experience varying emotions, there is a connected tangible experience that is tied to that emotion.

Through body scan meditation, you are learning to open up your consciousness to receive the information your body is telling you about both your anatomical/emotional state and their interrelated cognition. During the practice of body scan, it is expected that you will experience a variety of emotions and this is alright as it is you becoming connected to your body without judgment.

Benefits of Body Scan Mindfulness Meditation

There are several associated benefits that come with the practice of body scan meditation. Have a look at a few of them.

  • Enhance your capability to bring you full focus to real-time experiences within your anatomical and emotional being. It simply helps calm wild emotions.
  • Trains you to search for both pleasant and unpleasant sensations. Through grounding, you will be able to bring your mind and your body into the same place in the present. Doing these regular checks with your anatomical self will help you to identify when issues like pain or inflammation arise early without them becoming serious issues.
  • You will experience a reduction in how you react to stress and how it impacts your body. Along with stress reductions, there are the associated anatomical benefits of reduced inflammation, fatigue and much more.
  • During meditation mindfulness of your anatomy, you may notice that something within your physique feels bad. Or you may get frustrated when your mind is constantly wandering. Through regular practice, not only will you learn to control that, but you will learn to be more self-compassionate as you learn to approach those types of situations with gentleness. Eventually, this will transfer into day to day life.

How much time is required to do body scan meditation?

When it comes to body scan mindfulness meditations, more is better. Research has recommended that people who regularly practice doing body scans for longer times will reap more of the benefits associated with the practice.

The standard time is 20-45-minute sessions, three to six days each week for a duration of 4 weeks, and then sporadically after that. It will take at least four weeks of doing it regularly for you to grasp how it is done and achieve the awareness that brings mind and body harmony.

Body Scan Meditation for Beginners

There are two positions you can do physical body meditation in; you can be lying down or sitting up if the vertical position makes you fall asleep.Here is my favorite way to do it

  1. Close your eyes to help you focus.
  2. Start to bring awareness to your physique by breathing in and out. Notice touch and pressure where your body is making contact with the seat or the floor. Allow as much time as you need to investigate each of these areas.
  3. Next, when you are ready, intentionally breathe in and bring your attention to whatever part you want to investigate in your anatomy next. You may choose to do it systematically like starting at your feet and going to your head or vice versa. There is also the option to enjoy sensations randomly.
  4. Sensations you may experience include but are not limited to, buzzing, tingling, pressure, temperature, pain, tightness, etc. If you don’t notice any strong sensations, you can notice that too. There is no specific thing you should be noticing other than being in the present without judgment.
  5. Be curious and open to what you may notice during your investigations. Don’t overlook something because it can’t be a “sensation.” You want to intentionally release your attention to the next area of exploration after you have explored everything.
  6. If at some point during your physical scan meditations, you notice that your attention has left your body, then that is great. You noticed! Over time you will be able to train your mind to stay focused for longer periods of time. Until then, just gently bring your runaway brain back to the present moment.
  7. You have to grab your mind’s attention repeatedly. Don’t be forceful; just gently start your exploration where it left off.
  8. Neuroscience has taught us that noticing a runaway mind and gently returning it over and over is how you create positive pathways in the brain.
  9. Once you have completed your entire body exploration and related sensations, take a few minutes to expand your attention. Feel your physique fully as you breathe freely and enjoy the feeling of being alive.
  10. Open your eyes if they were closed and mindfully move within the moment.

When you are a beginner it is tough to conduct body scan meditation alone. Therefore, guidance is often the best way to begin. There are several resources for guided meditation online. However, here is one 32-minute body scan meditation session that is guided. You can use this one repeatedly or you can find another that you like.

After a while, you may find that you want to do body-scan meditation without guidance and that is alright. Many people choose to go about it solo and that is perfectly fine. Whatever is most comfortable for you.

Tips to Help you Get Going

Nothing is going to be perfect; as you embark on this journey, you are going to find that practicing body scan meditation is not easy. You need to practice to gain experience so that you can reap the benefits associated with this type of meditation. Give these tips a try to help you get going.

  • Make sure you are comfortable when you begin. Not so comfortable that you will fall asleep, but comfortable so that you don’t notice discomfort instead of your body.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t limit your time window so that you rush. This is a process that you want to embark on slowly.
  • When you notice tension building, recognize it. Breathe into the tension and visualize it leaving your body with each breath.
  • Practice a series of body scan meditations whenever you are feeling stressed. You can do this several times a day to help you reap the relaxing properties of this practice.
  • When you don’t have a lot of time to work on body scan meditation, do an abbreviated version. What this entails is that you just notice places in your body that are carrying tension rather than moving from part to part. This quick body scan is done from a seated position so that it can be done at work.
  • Since this type of mindfulness meditation can promote full body awareness, stress awareness, and even relaxation, you want to practice it often.

We often go about ourselves completely disassociated with our bodies, and our minds wander repeatedly. Through the regular practice of body scan meditation, you can bring awareness to your body and connect your mind with it. You may not want to be connected with your body, but it is a good thing.

In a society that has taught so many of us to criticize our bodies and be critical of them, body scan meditation brings you a way to be aware of your body without judgment. It is a freeing sensation that you will come to love.

Feel free to practice body scan meditation whenever you feel like it and create harmony between your mind and your body. Soon enough, you will find that your body isn’t something to be disconnected from but a beautiful and well-made home to your mind and spirit. Give it the same attention you would your mental state and reap the benefits of practicing body scan meditation regularly.

Suja Johnkutty
As physicians we are tasked with healing the world, but we often do so at great personal cost. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I wanted a place to write about stress-free wellness and the importance of having a strong body-mind connection. A site to share with you the lessons I’ve learned along this journey, and the mistakes I couldn’t avoid so that you can. So, BetterRelaxation.com was born.

Luminita d. Saviuc
Luminita, the founder of purposefairy, is an enthusiastic student of the arts, psychology, and spirituality. Her acclaimed blog post, 15 things you should give up to be happy , was shared by over 1.3 million people on facebook. Later on, it became the heart of her book, 15 things you should give up to be happy, book that will be published by penguin random house in march 2016. For more details check out the about page.
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